Friday, August 24, 2007

Towering above the Masses

I didn't go on a single date for three years after my first marriage ended. I had been with Adam since I was seventeen, and after 13 years together we fit like a glove, and I could barely imagine life on my own, let alone life with another man. How in the world do you start over? How do go over all the crazy family stories again? Much of my heart remained in denial that adultery, divorce, or single motherhood could possibly happen to me. I believed it to be some weird blip in my life that would eventually right itself. I focused all of my faith on that goal.

They were very spiritual years for me, years of tremendous stretching and growth. God became even more real, and I hung on his every manifestation in my aching heart. I believed that God wanted my family to continue, and that he loved both Adam and me enough to offer us open doors for redemption in our love, but ultimately allow us to choose our own paths, with commensurate rewards. I certainly hoped that Adam would choose my path. But he didn't. Well, he would turn for a time, but then spin right back around. It was confusing and tumultuous. I began to date to bide my time, but I still held out hope that my miracle would come.

It did. I signed on to some internet dating sites. They were LDS, so I felt they were somewhat safer, and the attention was intoxicating! One day in May (May 13th, actually, a Friday, coincidentally) I sat at my computer when a message came to my inbox at ldslinkup.com. "Wow. You're really pretty," it read. I felt I needed at least to be gracious and say 'thank you', and see who had passed my way, so I clicked on his profile. Hmmmm. Kind of intriguing. Mysterious. Depth in his eyes. Divorced. Father of 2. Green eyes. 5'4. Yikes. I'm 5'4, and I've never had to worry about dating a short guy. My first husband was 6'4, and all the males in my family are over 6'. I've shot down guys before simply because of their height, shallow thing that I am. But something said to write him back.

me: "Thanks! You just made my day!"
him: "Well, now that I've got you talking to me, what's your name?"
me: "Jenna"
him: "Nice name, Jenna. I'm Adam."

(gulp)
Adam? Seriously? The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

me: "That's my ex's name."
him: "Oh, crap."

It was okay, not a turn-off. I loved his voice, and how interested he seemed in me, and so we kept on talking. And talking. And talking. And then I could hear my children's alarm clocks going off in their bedrooms to wake them up for school. Birds were chirping. We had talked all night long. We didn't much get off the phone at all for weeks. Every battery in our cordless phones died. Our elbows became arthritic from holding the phone up to our ears. It didn't matter because we couldn't get enough. The more we talked, the more I liked. He had almost identical crazy family stories to mine (but if there was a winner, the prize would have to go to him). We had very similar upbringings: tons of dirty kids in a large, poor, Mormon family, except I'm the oldest, and he's right smack in the middle. We both knew what "Deseret beef stew" is, and our families share many of the same dysfunctions. I can remember one night we were on the phone (he in CA, me in UT), both tuned into the same television channel. There was a commercial for a National Geographic special or something and suddenly a graphic scene of a wildebeast being torn apart by hungry lions came on the screen. Adam said, "That's what it was like when Mom brought home a box of sugar cereal." I busted up in laughter. That's exactly what it was like. 'Sugar' cereal, he said. This guy knows.

We met after two weeks of phone conversation. I picked him up at the Salt Lake Airport, with nerves that rattled. He was sweating it too, but for different reasons. He had lied about being 5'4, and was only 5'3. He was scared to death that I'd find him out. Which I did. It was the very first thing I said to him. "You're not 5'4," I said as I hugged him. "Yeah, I am," he said, "it's just that your eyes are placed higher on your head so it looks like I'm shorter." He really thought he could get me with that. The height thing was weird in the beginning, though I loved how confident he was with himself. He told me early in our conversations that he felt like he "towered above the masses". But it felt odd to walk next to a man the same size as me. Every time I turned my head to say something, his eyes were right there. Whoa! Scared me! I was used to feeling little next to a man, maybe even cowering a bit. I talked with my dad about my feelings.

"Dad, I think I'm falling in love with him," I said. "I know it's quick, but there's something different about this one. I knew it almost immediately." My dad was glowing with happiness on the other end of the phone, I could feel it. "But I can't get over this height thing. It's so hard to get used to." The first thing my dad said to me was, "Well, how tall is his spirit?" And then what he said took my breath away. He said, "Jenna, look what's happened to you over the last several years. You've been emancipated! You no longer have to stand low, looking up to a man, you can look him straight in the eye." I started to cry. It was true. I deserved equal love and partnership, and the Lord sent me a man I could look eye to eye.


We were married less than two months later. It was a quaint, lovely, outdoor ceremony in the mountains of Utah. Our children, family, and close friends were there. We exchanged vows we had written ourselves and I thanked him for being worthy of my heart and the pain that had consecrated it. He was my Adam, the Adam I had waited for. It hasn't been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, but when I consider the alternative...it's been worth it.

11 comments:

Abby said...

Ya know, I think about that from time to time. I think about how in your vows you said "you're MY Adam". It's kind of cute. Ya know.. to think you were with the wrong Adam (though I wouldn't say totally wrong because 3 of your babies came from that) for so long and it's like *tap* *tap* *tap* no.. not that one. THIS Adam is yours.

I guess it goes along with what Orion says about how when the universe was created, we were always destined to be together (or something along those lines). Like you and Adam. Life is hard. Everything you've done in your life to this point, was supposed to happen. You were supposed to be with old Adam and experience all of that to get to new Adam. I like thinking like that. Like everything happens for a reason.

I'm not great at talking about things like this. But when you want to know where babies come from..you know where to find me. Hahahaha

Sarah said...

I loved reading this, Jenna. Thank you for sharing it. I always get choked up when I hear the inspiring words that one person gives another to help them realize life is going to be ok.

Jacquie said...

What a beautiful post.

Your dad such wise words!

When I found my DH I certainly wasn't thinking he was going to be the "one". Here we are 11 years later and getting ready to celebrate 10 years of marriage next year.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Sniffle . . . sniffle . . . that was so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!!

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story of how you met and were courted by Adam. It made my heart sigh.

Josi said...

that is beautiful, Jenna, and such an example of the paths our lives take. None of us have a straight course, but would be stretch and grow if we did? I'm so happy for you. I need a kleenex...and to hug my husband.

G. Parker said...

This was great fun to read. You could write a great story about it. Good blog.

Luisa Perkins said...

How lovely. I remember those days well!

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

my first time here. josi sent me a note that i should read your hubby post. i wrote a hubby post on 24aug and she said i should then read yours.

wow, this is totally beautiful. thank you for touching my heart. happy for you.

how tall is his spirit? just awesome. reading your post made me cry and i am still wiping away the tears. just beautiful.

blessings this Sabbath day to you and your eye to eye sweetie,
kathleen/grateful

Magirk said...

What a beautiful story! :)

I found you through the LDS Blogs webring. I've been reading through your old posts a bit - very much enjoying it! :)

I love all the pictures, and your thoughts are interesting and fun to read.

Thanks for being here and letting me snoop! ;)

Scribbit said...

Well you gotta love a guy who starts out with "you're pretty"! :)

And I'm okay with short guys, having sworn I'd never marry one myself but having fallen in love with one while we were sitting down. Though it does make Andrew sound toweringly tall to be 5'9" :) I guess being 6 feet tall it was a big hang up for me at first but it just worked itself out.

Nice story!